Coleus

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Coleus

Green and maroon Coleus leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Lamiales
Family:Lamiaceae
Genus:Solenostemon
Species

About 60 species, including:
Solenostemon scutellarioides
Solenostemon shirensis

Coleus (Solenostemon) is a genus of perennial plants, native to tropical Africa and Asia. The name Coleus derives from an earlier classification under the scientific name Coleus, though the currently accepted classification is in the genus Solenostemon.

Skipper on a Coleus
Enlarge
Skipper on a Coleus Lake Junaluska, North Carolina

Cultivation and uses

Many cultivars of the southeast Asian species Solenostemon scutellarioides have been selected for their colorful variegated leaves, typically with sharp contrast between the colors; the leaves may be green, pink, yellow, maroon, and red. The plants grow well in moist well-drained soil, and typically grow 0.5-1 m tall, though some may grow as tall as 2 m. They are typically grown as ornamental plants; they are heat-tolerant, though they do less well in full sun in subtropical areas than in the shade. In cultivation in temperate areas, they are often grown as annuals as they are not hardy and become leggy and unattractive with age. In bright hot areas, the colors of the plant will typically be more intense in shaded areas than in full sun, and the plants will require less water there. Coleus also make low maintenance houseplants, and can often be propagated by clipping a length of stem just below the leaves and putting the stem in water to root.

The plant's flowers grow on a stem above that stem's leaves, and tend to be purple and quite small in comparison to the leaves. The plant is not generally grown for its flowers.nl:Coleus

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